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A Meaningful Discussion on Trans Issues

… should not be led by me! But should definitely be had considering trans people have become the main target of today’s Christian Right.

So I’d like to suggest a couple of posts that I think let us glimpse into a world most of us don’t understand.

The first is by someone I’ve followed for many years. An intelligent, thoughtful and kind woman named Clare:

LIES AND VILIFICATION
Posted on 30th October, 2018 by Clare Flourish under politics, trans

“The outpouring of hatred against trans people in the UK is based on lies and distortions. The right-wing press has conducted a campaign of vilification against us, mocking and dehumanising us.”

Equally interesting are posts by JackC, the parent of a transgender child in Australia. Her blog is called Raising Orlando.

“… A very thoughtful colleague asked me recently if I could define gender (he was trying to). I gave him the standard lines about “gender being between your ears and sex being between your legs”.  That definition – however glib – is helpful in distinguishing …”

If you have questions, these are the people to answer them. If not, they’re still worth visiting to open the mind. It’s always good to try to see the world in a way we haven’t experienced before.

 

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50 comments on “A Meaningful Discussion on Trans Issues

  1. Esme upon the Cloud
    November 17, 2018

    Excellent posts. x

    – Esme Cloud

    Liked by 1 person

    • The Pink Agendist
      November 17, 2018

      Apart from having fascinating perspectives, they’re both lovely people.

      Liked by 3 people

      • Esme upon the Cloud
        November 17, 2018

        Yes, I love Clare, she’s an absolute star and writes superbly as well, I don’t know JackC, but I believe you.

        – Esme Cloud

        Liked by 2 people

      • The Pink Agendist
        November 17, 2018

        Her one defect is she takes pictures with Jeremy Corbyn.

        Like

  2. jim-
    November 17, 2018

    I’m sure you’ve heard of Gavin Grimm? His personal story is difficult to read. Although he finally won, it was pretty ugly how he got there. https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.teenvogue.com/story/gavin-grimm-nevertheless-we-persisted/amp
    His whole life was challenged by his community and parents. Disturbing how a belief that is supposed to be so great, has such devastating effects on a child.

    Liked by 3 people

    • The Pink Agendist
      November 17, 2018

      I haven’t heard of him but will read the story now. Thanks!

      Liked by 1 person

      • jim-
        November 17, 2018

        I tried to find his personal narrative that I found months ago, but was unable. Washington post also has some good articles that followed the story. The pure mental anguish inflicted on these kids is unbelievable. I’m actually surprised Gavin made it out alive.

        Liked by 3 people

      • The Pink Agendist
        November 17, 2018

        The current onslaught is frightening. Between the Christian Right and the TERF’s they’re getting attacked on all fronts.

        Liked by 2 people

  3. inspiredbythedivine1
    November 17, 2018

    Thanks for these links. Very enlightening posts and blogs.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Robert A. Vella
    November 17, 2018

    “gender being between your ears and sex being between your legs” – excellent!

    Liked by 3 people

    • The Pink Agendist
      November 18, 2018

      Interestingly gay children suffer from the stereo-typification of behaviours in much the same way as transgender people. Non-conformism is often grounds for exclusion and/or ridicule.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Robert A. Vella
        November 18, 2018

        Behavioral stereotyping is especially harmful to gay children, obviously, but it also affects other children too. For example, I was a small, shy child who had little interest in cultural conformity, and who was preoccupied with intellectual pursuits such as astronomy and history. Such topics were not popular with my classmates, and I was ridiculed as a “geek,” a “fag,” and a “pussy.” This caused psychological trauma, depression, and withdrawal, which I didn’t recover from until my mid-twenties.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. john zande
    November 18, 2018

    Honest question: why not just be “trans,” as its own distinct, unique class (for classification purposes, if/when needed)?

    There’s every chance I’m missing something, but I just don’t see why there’s drama here.

    Liked by 2 people

    • The Pink Agendist
      November 18, 2018

      The Christian Right uses lines like the problem is *the word* marriage as a cover for promoting prejudice. The issue isn’t classification, it’s having a group they can demonise for fundraising purposes. Have a look at this (it’s one of the less offensive versions): http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/marriage-and-family/marriage/promotion-and-defense-of-marriage/created-male-and-female.cfm

      Liked by 3 people

      • john zande
        November 18, 2018

        I don’t doubt trans are the focus of horrendous discrimination, especially from the religious right. Sorry if I wasn’t clear about that. What I was circling was what Arb writes about concerning the hits they’re taking from women in general (feminists). Honestly, I don’t know the subject well at all, but at a quick reading of what appears to be happening, I can’t quite understand *that* particular branch of the problems facing trans people. And if I do read it correctly, which I might not be, feminists are none-too-pleased with trans trying to claim they’re feminists too, suffering the same historical discrimination as women in general.

        Liked by 2 people

      • The Pink Agendist
        November 18, 2018

        To be precise it’s not feminists at large that have a problem with trans people, it’s a subset known as TERFs. They have joined hands with the Christian Right and are disseminating all sorts of anti-trans propaganda. The Arborist is particularly committed to doing this despite being shown time and again the information he distributes if not credible. Unfortunately even Tildeb does this now.

        Liked by 2 people

    • Curious Mother
      November 18, 2018

      Hi John!

      When you asked this question on Arbourist’s blog I had a go at replying there too. I agree it would be nice if this was simpler: my own (trans) son often says that everyone is overthinking this issue.
      I suppose part of the problem is that there are so many distinctions and points of difference within the trans community. My son is of the opinion that his transness is basically because of a birth defect: he feels entirely male but his body doesn’t reflect this. But not all trans people feel similarly at all. I think a few trans people follow this blog so maybe they’ll say more.
      The other big issue I see is one that I mentioned before: ‘other’ can very easily become ‘less than’, rather than ‘equal to everyone else.’
      As you’ve indicated, some feminists are not at all sympathetic to ‘feeling’ like the opposite gender (and if you believe that gender is completely a social construct then you might well conclude this). I’m not one of these feminists. It gets ugly and complicated from here on because those with uteri, ovaries and vaginas have undeniably been discriminated and persecuted on these grounds across history and cultures (Pink has written very well on some of these ‘terf’ issues).
      Personally, I think that playing oppression olympics divides people who need to stand together. It’s boring, overly complicated and dismaying, especially when the far right wing starts cracking their knuckles.
      However, it’s probably too hard and too late to just declare a ‘third gender’ and leave it at that. Unfortunately.

      Liked by 3 people

      • john zande
        November 18, 2018

        Oppression olympics, I like that.

        Liked by 3 people

      • The Pink Agendist
        November 18, 2018

        Just as a side note, it’s important to remember that behind the Arborist’s and Tildeb’s comments on this topic, we see all the classic techniques of deception and propaganda.
        In my last post (Dead Son Is Better…) you see Tildeb begin with some very serious accusations against transgender people, what the Kremlin calls “False Facts”. He also uses “totum pro parte”, exaggeration and generalisation, among others. When the false information he presents is dismissed, then he makes himself the persecuted victim. That in itself is a scenario called “wolf cries wolf”.
        And if you go through the Arborist’s comments and posts, it’s the motherlode of propaganda techniques. From cardstacking to false dilemmas, he’s got the market cornered.

        Liked by 3 people

      • inspiredbythedivine1
        November 18, 2018

        Tildeb is someone I once thought had valid points and made good arguments. But, I was wrong. Get him going on IQ tests and race! Ha! Off the wall insanity, bitterness, vitriol and rage come outta the guy. This, combined with his 48 paragraph replies to comments, has rather lowered my perception of him greatly. He’s now in my “idjit” category of commenters. This places him a half mark above individuals such as SoM and Colorstorm but only because his use of grammar and punctuation are better. Otherwise, he ain’t much better ‘n he’s just as angry.

        Liked by 2 people

      • The Pink Agendist
        November 18, 2018

        I don’t understand the path he’s taken, or how someone goes from being interested in evidence to taking positions that are completely lacking in substance.

        Liked by 2 people

      • inspiredbythedivine1
        November 18, 2018

        And the underlying rage under much of what he says I find rather disturbing. It isn’t just that he says he’s right, he’s saying you’re/we’re idiots for not seeing everything as he does. Lost much respect for him.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Curious Mother
        November 19, 2018

        The anger is interesting. These are angry times, for sure. I notice how many people double down and become polemic when their views aren’t adopted. I’ve been as guilty as most but I try my best not to make anger my raison d’etre.

        Liked by 1 person

      • inspiredbythedivine1
        November 19, 2018

        Right, and I’d gather you try to at least listen to other points of view rather than squash them with angry rhetoric and verbose posturing on the “correctness” of your view over everyone else’s. The more someone like Tildeb shouts about how “right” his view is and how wrong all are who oppose it, the weaker his arguments become and the frailer his sense of self shows itself to be, IMO.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Sirius Bizinus
    November 18, 2018

    Something I realized I haven’t looked too far into is the nature of resistance to sexual orientation issues and trans issues themselves. For example, I always looked at resistance to sexual orientation equality (marriage, social acceptance, sharing public spaces, etc.) as a religious issue. It was religious tracts and norms which spoke the most against same-sex and non-binary sexual relationships. I haven’t stopped to think that there might have been other resistance to equality for other reasons.

    I wonder if trans issues are quantitatively getting more pushback because they challenge more social assumptions. Could this be useful in helping trans people shape issue statements to achieve social equality? Am I just having random thoughts late at night/in the early morning?

    Liked by 3 people

    • The Pink Agendist
      November 18, 2018

      That’s actually the angle from which we can get the clearest perspective. Historically speaking, for much of the 20th century, the religious crowd actually respected transgender people/rights on the grounds it was a purely medical issue; As opposed to homosexuality which was considered a “moral choice” (immoral, to be clear).
      As public opinion turned and people started to reject homophobic propaganda, interest groups needed to recycle their material to stay in business, and no easier target than trans people. All the old anti-gay tropes have just been reworded to apply to trans people. Even the bathroom danger stuff which was used to promote the idea gay men were going to attack little boys or other men in locker rooms (or even in the army!) has just been repurposed:

      Liked by 1 person

      • Sirius Bizinus
        November 18, 2018

        I get why groups which rely on religious extremist support are doing stuff like this, but it weirds me out when I see people outside that camp doing it too. The people recycling the propaganda shouldn’t be gaining support from groups outside the echo chamber if it’s just a function of keeping members of a voting base happy. Feminists – of most stripes I’m aware of – don’t exactly respond well to traditional Christian value rhetoric or fear mongering concerning gender. And then commercials like this pop out, and somehow they get traction by people who are angry at trans-people for whatever reason.

        It was weird when I first heard about TERFs. I kept thinking it shouldn’t be a thing. Trans issues from a legal and social perspective have the best chances of getting equal status for women and men.

        Liked by 2 people

      • The Pink Agendist
        November 19, 2018

        As the Alt-Right was born, a number of strange things happened. Even major right wing publications like Breitbart realised being overtly anti-gay wasn’t working anymore. So they started tweaking their *Us vs Them* narratives to include certain groups while still keeping alive the idea of a dangerous villain. Their first line of attack was Muslims. Suddenly you had all these previously anti-gay people interested in defending gay rights, but only in regard to bashing Muslims. In a single swoop they denigrated all Muslims and brushed away the decades of homophobia they were responsible for. The TERF phenomena was more complex, but was hugely inflated by the trolling factor. If you make a TERF/transgender related comment on twitter, you get responses for weeks to come. Many from bots. This means artificial manipulation – and fanning the flames of a wedge issue. If we look closely, the “enormous” TERF disruption of the last gay pride event in London was made up by a group that had less than 20 members – but who cleverly managed the disruption of the parade by placing themselves at the front of it.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Curious Mother
        November 19, 2018

        I just watched this 😦

        Like

  7. Curious Mother
    November 18, 2018

    Thanks Pink. You’re very generous. I’m only just getting my blog up again and thought I’d be rambling to myself for a while (though it’s always good to converse with other thoughtful people). I suppose I’ve been reading a lot on trans issues for a while now (and in fact I’m yet to get my head around the fact that at our current point in history trans issues are suddenly, bizarrely, mainstream). But I’m not trans myself and try to be on guard against speaking for trans people. I really like these blogs, as they’re by non-assuming people who just happen to be trans. It overwhelms their life at times but they’re equally intelligent when writing about other stuff:

    https://wordpress.com/read/feeds/69836978
    https://cis2trans.wordpress.com/author/cistotrans/

    Liked by 1 person

    • The Pink Agendist
      November 18, 2018

      Having a reasonable parent like you discussing the issue is hugely important because it discredits the paranoid generalisations being peddled at the moment.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. dpmonahan
    November 19, 2018

    If it is TERFs vs a bunch of middle aged men who want to be called Catlin then I am rooting for the Trans.
    Right now however most of the growth of transgenderism is among girls in their early teens and that is freaking people out. One thing to humor your odd uncle, something else if your 15 yr old daughter wants a mastectomy.

    Like

    • Curious Mother
      November 19, 2018

      Yeahhhh, don’t get your news from the Daily Mirror (or the Daily Telegraph or really anything with ‘Daily’ or ‘Sun’ in the title). TERFs plus the alt right are the ones freaking people out about underage mastectomies. Yes, there’s an increase in biological female referrals to gender clinics. There could be lots of reasons – no one really knows yet (but it’s worth remembering that most gender clinics opened less than a decade ago). One way is which I personally fence-sit (I have a young trans son – ie biologically female) is that I think we can’t discount the possibility of adolescent social contagion and the general discomfort felt by some young women when they can’t or won’t socially conform. But hysteria and trans-hate doesn’t help, strangely enough. Google gave me this paper, which goes through some of the issues fairly well: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5841333/. But it’s Trans Day of Remembrance in Australia and I think I’ll go and do just that.

      Like

      • dpmonahan
        November 19, 2018

        Agreed that hysteria and hate don’t achieve much.

        Liked by 1 person

      • The Pink Agendist
        November 19, 2018

        Remember that gif you like with the screaming large girl? That’s TERF’s in one image.

        Liked by 1 person

      • dpmonahan
        November 20, 2018

        And I want a big guy in an evening gown to give her the back of his hand and say, “settle down Missy, we’re in charge of feminism now.”

        Like

    • The Pink Agendist
      November 19, 2018

      Aren’t you for the classic conservative ideal of self-determination and personal autonomy?

      Like

      • dpmonahan
        November 19, 2018

        Within limits, those are not absolute values. I’m also for community, tradition, and respect for nature… within limits.

        Liked by 1 person

      • The Pink Agendist
        November 19, 2018

        Agreed. I meant in relation to basic autonomy. Letting people make their own medical decisions etc.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Curious Mother
        November 19, 2018

        Transgender children are a wedge issue. I get that – do we let young people make their own medical decisions or not? Last November there was a change to Australian legislation so that decisions for ‘Stage Two’ treatment for trans kids (ie cross sex hormones) was taken out of the Family Court. I’m glad it happened, as the court proceedings were hopelessly expensive and bureaucratic. What it’s meant, though, is that the decision is now squarely with the parents, the child and with the treating professionals. Call me a coward, but it’s not a power that I relish – to make a semi-permanent medical decision for another human being. It was easier to let the courts decide.

        Liked by 1 person

      • The Pink Agendist
        November 19, 2018

        I do agree it’s the best way – but I can’t imagine having to make such complex decisions. To be honest I spend a lot of time wondering how other people know what they’re doing. How did they choose their house or what to invest in? Making decisions for another human being would send me into a tailspin.

        Liked by 1 person

      • dpmonahan
        November 20, 2018

        Even our medical decisions are not made in perfect autonomy. In general an adult makes better medical choices for himself than another could make for him but if Karen Carpenter comes asking a doctor for diet pills he should tell her no.

        Liked by 1 person

      • The Pink Agendist
        November 20, 2018

        I’m no expert, but from what I understand of gender dysphoria, it’s that it’s not something that can be changed. The idea of gender identity goes incredibly deep. It certainly does for me. Doesn’t it for most people?

        Liked by 1 person

      • dpmonahan
        November 20, 2018

        I think sexuality is more fluid than current politics likes to pretend.
        But my objection has more do do with our concept of healthy and sick. Transgenderism says a healthy body is in need of medical intervention. It implies we can’t identify physical health, or mental for that matter.

        Like

      • The Pink Agendist
        November 20, 2018

        You have to balance that out don’t you? If there’s something going on in your head that’s making you not be able to function as a human being, then what do you do? Do we force people to not change how they present themselves? To not have surgeries to modify their bodies? Will that result (as I’ve read) in depression and possibly suicide?
        Or is it better to let each person do their own thing within certain parameters?

        Like

      • dpmonahan
        November 20, 2018

        Parameters are what this is about. I think silicon lips and boobs are mildly objectionable but I’m not going throw a fit over them. Giving Karen Carpenter liposuction OTOH would be downright evil.
        The choice is framed as one of life and death: “better a live trans son than a dead daughter” but that seems manipulative. Most likely the choice is between two forms of unhappiness.
        I think it is obvious that the body is healthy and the mind is sick. Maybe you can never really heal the sick part, I don’t know, but it can probably be managed. But making a healthy body sick is the opposite of what doctors should be doing.

        Liked by 1 person

      • The Pink Agendist
        November 20, 2018

        That’s murky territory, isn’t it? Choosing who can have breast augmentations or breast reductions? Or for that matter genital surgery. All based on an outsider’s opinion?
        The Karen Carpenter example is precisely one of these life/death examples.
        I see it very much in terms of a medical issue. My experience is with depression and in my case I want to be the ultimate decider. If there were a surgery (with or without risks), I’m the one who should make the decision if those are risks I can live with. The same goes for taking or not taking medication – and which one, and when. A stated side effects for some anti-depressants is suicidal thoughts. That’s a pretty serious potential consequence. Who can make that choice except for the individual?

        Liked by 1 person

      • dpmonahan
        November 21, 2018

        You are right, individuals have to evaluate risk / reward for themselves. (In socialized medicine the controlling authority has to have a role given limited resources and the interests of the common good, in private medicine cost is just another risk for the individual to evaluate.)
        But I would add that there is a distinction between risking self-harm in the pursuit of better health and committing self-harm, even if the individual might not realize it.

        Like

      • The Pink Agendist
        November 21, 2018

        Better health includes better mental health. If that means transitioning gender for some people – and that allows them to live more complete lives as individuals and in society, then transitioning can be a good thing.
        Especially in the case of socialised medicine, we’re looking at a percentage of people so small that the costs are insignificant.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. dpmonahan, I think there is a key outcome that you are missing, not addressing. Many people who are transgender and transition to various levels of transitioning to the gender they believe that they are, report being happier with their life. In other words, it works for them.

    You kind of remind me of a parent who hauls their gay son off to a psychologist for gay conversion therapy. “I’m sorry you are not happy yet son, don’t give up just keep working n it, just keep going to therapy you can be straight if you just try harder.”

    Isn’t that kind of what you are telling ppl who are transgender? “Just try harder, don’t live your authentic life, try harder to live a life that isn’t your true self.”

    Liked by 2 people

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This entry was posted on November 17, 2018 by in activism, gay and tagged , , , , , , , .
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